Thursday, March 4, 2010

The bad, the good, and the utterly mysterious.

The Bad
Sad news to begin the day today.  Sloan's little ram lamb died last night.  I don't know why he died.  It was pretty cold last night and it might be that he got hypothermia.  He had a lamb coat on, but the blue faced Leicester lambs have such tiny curls and not much "insulation" from their wool, so I think they get cold much more easily than any other lambs we have had.  That is the only thing I can think of, because he had his BoSe shot and he had good colostrum from Sloan, who had her CDT shot 4 weeks ago.  Very distressing.  Sleep well little one, you are in greener pastures now.

In other not-so-good news, I was having trouble getting hot water out of the tap last night.  Then I noticed that it was kind of cool in the house.  I told Kelly and he went to check on the propane tank (which he is supposed to check monthly) and it was bone dry.  Not a drop to be had!  He called the propane delivery company and left a message.  Overnight, the house got pretty chilly, and it was 50 degrees this morning.  The delivery truck was in another county and took a long time to get to me as a result.  So, I had to stay home from work because the propane delivery person had to restart the pilot on the furnace.  This meant that I had to take a phone conference call from work with lambs wailing in the background.  Thank goodness for the "mute" button!

The Good
On the positive side, the two house lambs are still doing well.  Alystyne's little ewe is a firecracker and is already beginning to jump and kick her legs.  She bleats constantly, hungry or not, and is about to be named "Kazoo" if she keeps it up, because that's what she sounds like.  Sloan's tiny ewe is gaining strength slowly, but she is still very tentative.  She took more milk today than yesterday, which I take as a good sign.  She's also becoming a little more talkative.

"Oooo, let's look at the stuff in this box!  It smells like us!"
"What if we get in trouble?"
"Just look cute, like this, and then you,ll never get in trouble."

In addition, the propane delivery truck has now been and filled the tank.  He came a little while after lunch, so the furnace is re-lit and the house is warmed up again.  Hopefully that will last until next fall.

After the propane was delivered, I still had time to be able to get to my class today.  I went out to the barn to lock it and saw that the chickens needed water.  I filled the water and took it back into the barn.  As I crossed the floor, I noticed some blood in front of me.  I wondered if the roosters had been fighting, which they don't usually do.  Then I noticed some more blood, and thought it seemed like a bit much for rooster fights.  I began looking at the floor more closely and....Woah!!  What is THAT?  There was a black furry thing on the floor in front of the feed area.  Closer inspection revealed....another lamb!!

Last night, we had brought Corsica into the barn because I noticed her udder had suddenly grown, and I thought she might lamb in about a week or so, based on its size.  I thought it was just as well to get her into the barn so she could be in a lambing pen.  Much to my surprise, Corsica had her lamb today!  She just had the single lamb.  I could not find any trace of the afterbirth, so I believe that the blood on the floor came from either the chickens or the cat having taken it across the floor and dispatched it.  Chickens, contrary to what you might think, are very much attracted to blood.  It's kind of creepy, but it worked in this case to clean up the lambing pen.

Corsica's lamb is a beautiful black ewe.  She is a good weight - nearly 12 lbs, and very tall.

She has the most beautiful jet-black coat and a few tiny little greyish spots around her face.  I am hopeful that she wasn't separated from Corsica for a very long time.  I don't know exactly when she was born, but when I found her, Corsica was laying in her lambing pen looking very comfortable and not at all distressed.  When I brought the lamb over to the pen (she and Leslie were in the same pen and I didn't know whose lamb it was), neither of them got up.  I had a horrible feeling that I had another house-lamb on my hands.  I began to untie the panel for the pen so I could go inside, get the ewes up, and look at their bottoms to see whose lamb it was.  When I began to do that, Corsica got up and then began to show interest in the lamb.
I was very, very glad to see that she was bonding with the ewe lamb.

The Utterly Mysterious
You may be wondering, "Why was the lamb in the middle of the barn and not in the pen with Corsica?"  If you are wondering that, I don't blame you, because I'm wondering that too.  Leslie and Corsica are in a lambing pen that has 2 sides that are part of the barn walls.  The third side is a panel adjoining Sloan's lambing pen.  The 4th side is a panel to the rest of the barn.  The panels are not cattle panels - they are old panels from a corn crib.  Ears of corn do not fit through the holes, therefore, lambs do not fit through the holes.  The one and only way that the lamb could have gotten out is right here:
Now, I ask you, how does a newborn lamb climb over buckets and squeeze out a small opening like that?  Seriously, I think she levitated.  That explanation is nearly as plausible as any other I can think of.  The only other thing, which I hate to even think, is that Leslie got agitated and pushed her out.  I don't know if that is possible but again, it's one of very few possibilities.
"I think she jumped over the fence."
"Shhhhhhhhhh, I'm trying to sleep"
We'll never know, but she's very welcome on Whispering Acres!


Jenny said...

I'm sorry you lost a little lamb. All your pictures are so cute. I noticed when I drove to town the other day a neighbor had a whole hillfull of little lambs gamboling about so sweetly.

Louise said...

That new lamb is adorable. You'll have to name her something mysterious sounding. I'm totally ignorant about sheep and lambs, so excuse me if this is a dumb question, but, can you use the wool from a black sheep?

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

gosh, we'll never know what happened to ram lamb, so sorry.

BUT, you habe three adorable little ewes.

Carol said... sorry to hear about the little ram lamb. It seems like hypothermia can set in so quickly. Glad to see the other lambs are doing well. And that nice natural color ewe lamb...Yay!

I responded to your comment about Darla (our four pound lamb two years ago). Response is here:


Deb said...

I'm sorry about your little guy Claire - it's always sad to lose one.
Your girls are adorable and I'm glad they are gaining quickly.
12lb babies are huge compared to our little 3lb shetland babies :)
I hope all goes well from here on out.

Becky Utecht said...

Hmmm, that nice black ewe lamb really IS a mystery...from what you've posted, it's just not adding up that it's really Corsica's lamb. Does she have a bloody bum? Could any other ewe have lambed and the newborn lamb gotten in near the feeder?

I'm SO very sorry about Sloan's ram lamb. Sounded like he was doing so well and Sloan was being such a good mother. I wonder if her ewe lamb would be able to nurse now that she's stronger...that way Sloan would at least still have a baby to care for. To me that's the saddest part of the loss. The poor ewe with no baby after all she's been through.

Tiffany said...

Sorry to hear about your ram lamb. I bet it was a nice suprise to find the new ewe though. Heres to hoping that that things go better from here on out!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh those lambs are just so precious! And the little black lam is gorgeous! What a mystery, though. wow!

Sorry about the loss of the one lamb, too.

Animals with Opinions said...

so sorry you lost the little guy. good to hear the house lambs are doing well. i am not happy about this black lamb. you have again started the human ooo'ing and awe'ing cause she just loves those little black lambs and the contrast against the mom. she is lamb crazy again. ugh.

gerald the majestic "trying to be tolerant" goat

polly's path said...

I hate to hear about the little baby that was lost. So sorry.
The black one is so so unique looking-a true black sheep!!!!

And, I am not surprised she squeezed through that little crack-I caught Tardy joyfully hopping in and out of the pen yesterday just to annoy his hovering momma, and he was using a crack between the fence and the gate that I would have never imagined he could fit through.

Mom L said...

I wonder that you are ever able to get to work or class with the constant comings and goings on your farm! I hope all the little ones continue to do well, and that you have no more losses. I know it's hard for you, but it must be very confusing for the mother ewe.


angelandspot said...

Sorry you lost the lamb :( I lost a little ram lamb last year that appeared normal so it was a shock to loose him. I can understand your loss. I sold all the sheep last fall except for 2 ewe lambs so there will be no lambs this year here. I am waiting on goats to kid though. I had some house sheep back when I was in FFA. They were sure fun. ~Cassie

Sheepmama said...

It's always hard to lose animals. I always ask myself if I had to do something. You have to accept it. Such is the nature. All the best for you and your animals.